Culinary Innovation

No this blog isn’t about pressure cooking, it’s about cooking product under vacuum. The term sous vide is a French term, meaning under vacuum. It is a cooking technique where vacuum-sealed food is immersed in a water bath and cooked at an extremely accurate temperature. This technique involves cooking food for longer periods of time at a lower temperature. The accurate temperature allows you to cook food to perfection, this also eliminates concerns about over cooking. This innovation in the culinary industry is extremely simple and fool-proof, and produces amazing results.

This innovation was developed in the mid-1970s by chef Georges Pralus. He was the chef at the renowned Michelin Three-Star Restaurant, Troisgros, in Roanne, France. He used this technique as a means of minimizing costly shrinkage of product and maximizing more bang for his buck. In the last two decades, sous vide has become more popular. It has enabled more chefs to use them as a tool to increase their own creativity. The technique of sous vide cooking relies on the ability of water to transfer heat to food. To cook in a traditional oven, in heated air or on a hot piece of metal, the temperature must be set much higher than the desired cooked temperature of the food. Because of this, timing becomes quite critical. With the sous vide method, because water transfers heat to and through vacuum/sealed food about 10 times more efficiently than air does, the food can cook gently and precisely at the desired serving temperature, without ever exceeding it. There is just one thing to remember, just because chefs are using this application doesn’t mean the ever day home cook can’t also use this. Many stores now sell this technology. Williams Sonoma sells a multiple variety of them ranging from different places (and yes I’m advertising for my workplace).

Why sous vide? It’s a new and unique way of cooking that yields different and better results. Products cooked sous vide develop flavors and textures that simple cannot be duplicated using any other cooking method. Yes these machines can be expensive but you get tons of benefits with them. The main benefits is that it’s easy and fool-proof and you get perfect results ever time. You get the gourmet taste that you get in a restaurant full of flavours. It’s also very hands-off cooking. You just set it up and walk away. You get additional nutrients from the natural juices that are retained in the sealed bag. And with spending the money to buy a sous vide you also save money because you tenderize inexpensive cuts of meat while stiff getting the expensive taste. It just takes 3 simple steps; season and seal your product, simmer your pouches in the water bath, and serve. The final step could have another step where you can give a quick sear on a hot skillet to get a beautiful golden colour and caramelized flavour.

This is a pretty awesome technological innovation in the culinary industry in my opinion. It always chefs to play a lot with flavours and colours. I know what I know from working at Williams Sonoma. We have a few sous vide machines and I’m able to help customers know more about it just because of how interested I am about it. You can cook so many things from steak and fish, to carrots and eggs. The ideas and recipes are limitless. The store also offers classes or demonstrations to people who are interesting in learning or buying product. We had a demo with the PolyScience machine that we sell where we did poached eggs.They were delicious and cooked perfectly. I can honestly say that when I get the smaller machine in stock or when I can afford the medium sized sous vide I will be definitely be buying one and inviting people over for gourmet dinner. In conclusion I firmly believe that the sous vide will not be a trend but an innovation that is here to stay.